A Better Breakfast….

Confession time…..I am not good at breakfast.  I have become lazier the last few months about my morning meal routine, relying too much on bread and coffee to get me started.  The last two weeks, I re-focused some energy on my morning meal – and wowza – what a difference!  No more tension headaches, better energy, and a happier tummy:) All because of a better breakfast.

Breakfast sets that illusive system called your metabolism UP.  We need the macro and micro-nutrients from food to stoke our internal fire – and tell the hormones that control our metabolism what to expect for the rest of the day.  Not eating in the earlier part of the day is quickly perceived as a stressor by the body; cortisol will peak, blood sugar goes loopy, and when we do realize how hungry we are – whatever we eat we are just going to store.  What we really want to do is get things burning early on & produce the energy needed from food to carry us through a busy day!

I have been discussing the importance of breakfast with lots of clients these days ; likely because my focus and self-improvement has been directed there, but in any case – I know what a big impact our morning meal (or lack thereof) can make with regards to health.  Better energy, better mood, fewer headaches, reduced carb cravings, weight loss – who does not want that! So let’s get going with a better breakfast….

Here’s how:

ALWAYS incorporate a healthy amount of protein and healthy fat into the morning meal.  The Standard North American (SAD) diet advocates a lot of refined carbohydrates – breakfast cereals, waffles, pancakes, muffins, breads – not so good on the nutrition front.  Now, I’m not suggesting eggs and bacon every day – but studies have shown that taking in more calories from a balanced meal at breakfast resulted in better health outcomes, especially when it comes to weight management.  People who skip breakfast (myself included) will end up snacking much more later in the day, and likely on foods I like to call “empty calories”!  Protein and fats are really going to help kick-start your metabolism, and stabilize your blood sugar for much longer than simple carbohydrates.  Healthy protein & fat sources include eggs (6 -7 g/egg), quinoa, cottage cheese, greek yogurt, nuts/seeds, unsweetened nut butters, lean poultry, avocado, protein powders (vegan or whey isolates), coconut & olive oil, hemp hearts or seeds, flax and chia.

I know time is of the essence in the morning, so I challenge you to do a little preparation in the evening, before hitting the hay.  Make your cereal grains, hard boil some eggs, put your raw smoothie ingredients in the blender so all you have to do in the morn is hit the button! If you do not leave yourself time to eat at home, then take your breakfast to go.

I have been aiming for 15-20 g of protein at breakfast, along with a healthy dose of plant-based fats (about 8-10 g) A  few recipe ideas….

Breakfast Quinoa

Quinoa is a nutrient dense seed that provides ample protein, fibre and nutrients.  I prefer it’s texture to oatmeal hugely and I find it far more satisfying.

  • 1 cup quinoa (I cook mine the night before so there is very little to do in the a.m.)     breakfast quinoa
  • 1 cup millet (optional – cooked in advance)
  • 1/4 cup coconut, almond or hemp milk
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • a pinch of ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup fresh fruit (sliced Banana, berries, pomegranate, chopped apple or pear)
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp hemp hearts (adds an additional protein source, and omega 3 fats)
  • 1 heaping tsp ground flaxseed or chia
  • a handful or nuts/seeds – almond slivers, hazelnuts, cashews, pumpkin seeds
  • Dollop of greek yogurt if you like!

Measure out 1 cup of the combined quinoa and millet, and get it heating a saucepan with milk of your choice. Once it is heated through, add cinnamon, some ginger, your fruit, chia/flax and hemp hearts. Stir to combine.  Get your lovely warm cereal in a bowl, drizzle with maple syrup, a handful of nuts and seeds, and a little yogurt – now dig in!

Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

Smoothies are always a great way to combine lots of healthy ingredients into a convenient, to-go meal option.  But I don’t want to drink cold smoothies anymore, especially in these chilly temperatures!  I found this recipe, courtesy of Holistic Nutritionist Joy McCarthy, and it is totally yummy and warming!

  • 1/2 cup pumpkin puree (tinned and unsweetened)
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp (a dash) of cloves
  • 1 serving vanilla flavored vegan or why isolate protein powder (if yours is unflavored, add 1/2 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 1 cup coconut or almond milk
  • 1 tsp coconut oil

Blend it all up, and add more fluid as needed to reach desired consistency.

Hopefully you found some inspiration for a better breakfast in this post – and feel the healthy goodness that it brings to your day!

Until next time morning glories…..

~ Dr. Bronwyn

 

 

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